Death Penalty Database

United Arab Emirates

Information current as of: February 7, 2011

General

Official Country Name

United Arab Emirates. [1]

Geographical Region

Asia (Western Asia). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting.
The most recent reported execution in an Emirate was by firing squad. [4] A recent news report states that executions are by firing squad. [5]

Stoning.
Stoning is a religiously stipulated punishment for offenses such as adultery under Shari’a law; [6] we did not find any reports of any recent execution by stoning in an Emirate.

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[2] U.N. World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Al Arabiya, UAE Man Executed for Double Murder: Report, Feb. 24, 2008.
[4] Al Arabiya, UAE Man Executed for Double Murder: Report, Feb. 24, 2008; Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates: 2011, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=15000410&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 22, 2011 (This URL will change in 2012).
[5] Yasin Kakande, Seventeen Sentenced to Death for “Bootleg” Murder, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/seventeen-sentenced-to-death-for-bootleg-murder, Mar. 29, 2010.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Further Information on UA 167/06 (MDE 25/005/2006, 13 June 2006)—Death by Stoning/Flogging, MDE 25/006/2006, Jul. 3, 2006 (reporting the judicial commutation, upon appeal, of a sentence of death by stoning for adultery).

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic. [1]

Population

6,000,000. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

58. Our research indicates that at least 58 individuals are held under a pronounced—not always confirmed—sentence of death.

An article published in March 2010 stated that up to 24 individuals were held under sentence of death in Dubai, [3] while another shows that at least 3 individuals have been held in Sharjah since 2003. [4] This accounts for only two of the seven Emirates prior to 2010, and those two, only partially. Hands Off Cain displays news summary reports indicating that during 2010, 9 death sentences were commuted or overturned, while 48 were pronounced, 1 was enhanced on appeal, and 1 was confirmed in Abu Dhabi on appeal from Al Ain. [5] Two death sentences were confirmed in Dubai, but those individuals may have already been counted in the 2010 article on death row in Dubai. It seems that very recently the death sentences pronounced against 17 Indian nationals in a bootlegging-murder case may have been reduced to 25 years’ imprisonment. [6] Confirmed and unconfirmed death sentences seem to tally to 51 or more. The number is likely higher—for instance, one report states that over the past 3 years, 22 Indian nationals have been sentenced to death. [7]

By the end of 2010, Hands Off Cain reported a total of 59 death sentences during the year. [8] During January-February 2011, 7 more individuals had been sentenced to death, one had been executed, and 10 death sentences were commuted. [9] Amnesty's numbers may differ significantly. [10]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on October 18, 2017)

0. [11]

Executions in 2016

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

1. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

1 execution per 6,000,000 persons

Executions in 2014

1. [14]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

1 execution per 6,000,000 persons

Executions in 2013

0. [15]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

1. [16]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

1 execution per 6,000,000 persons

Executions in 2011

1. [17]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

1 execution per 6000000 persons

Executions in 2010

0. [18]

Executions in 2009

0. [19]

Executions in 2008

1. [20]

Executions in 2007

0. [21]

Year of Last Known Execution

2015. The last person to be executed was Alaa Al Hashemi, an Emirati woman who was convicted of murdering an American woman. [22]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[3] Salam Al Amir, Death Row Convicts in Dubai, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/death-row-convicts-in-dubai-1.595184, Gulf News, Mar. 11, 2010.
[4] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[5] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=13000046&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[6] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[7] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[8] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=13000046&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[9] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates: 2011, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=15000410&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 22, 2011 (This URL will change in 2012). A man was executed by firing squad for the rape and murder of a four-year-old boy.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[11] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[12] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[13] The National, Reem Island killer executed at dawn, http://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/reem-island-killer-executed-at-dawn, Jul. 13, 2015.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015. Arab News, Sri Lankan executed in UAE for murder, http://www.arabnews.com/news/513296, Jan. 22, 2014.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[22] The National, Reem Island killer executed at dawn, http://www.thenational.ae/uae/courts/reem-island-killer-executed-at-dawn, Jul. 13, 2015.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Intentional murder is punishable by death in the case of “deliberate design or premeditated purpose, if it is accompanied by another crime..., if the victim is an descendant of the offender, a public officer or any person to whom a public service is assigned…, or…with the use of any poisonous substances or explosives.” Premeditation involves thorough planning, and deliberate design involves laying in wait. This statutory law governs punishment, except that it does not prejudice the right to blood money compensation under the Shari’a. [1]

Murder.
Under Book 1, Article 1 of the Penal Code, retributive penalties can apply under Shari’a law. UAE courts follow the Maliki school of Sunni Islam (but may also use authority and interpretations from other schools). [2] In practice, courts pronounce death sentences for murder. [3] “Islamic law presumes that any sane person who intentionally kills a person with a weapon, is a sinner deserving perdition according to the Qur’an and that the murderer is subject to retaliation.” [4] Murder is punishable by death as qisas (retaliation) or diya (compensation), but there is some disagreement over which circumstances allow qisas. According to the Maliki school of Sunni Islam, a person is “guilty of deliberate homicide if he causes the death of another by any intentional act or omission directed against a human being, which is either hostile or intrinsically likely to kill,” and is subject to death as qisas. For the Hanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islam, the offender is subject to death as qisas if “the killer intended to kill and employed some means likely to have that result.” [5] One source that generalizes on qisas offenses indicate that “deliberate killing is forbidden” but that only killing “with a set purpose” is subject to death as qisas, [6] while another explains that intentional killing or intentional infliction of serious and permanent bodily harm allows application of the talion principle [7] and therefore the death penalty if the offense results in death. There may thus be some conflict over whether the offender is subject to death as qisas only upon a showing of actual as opposed to constructive malice, and we do not know the rule applied by UAE courts.

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Perjury, resulting in condemnation, is punishable by death. [8] Calumny, resulting in execution, is punishable by death. [9] Successfully inciting the suicide of a person “afflicted with total lack of free will or reason” is punishable as premeditated murder, [10] which is death-eligible under some circumstances. [11] Use of drugs or an existing drug-induced state to incite a person to commit an offense that results in death is punishable by death. [12]

Arson of, or illegal use of explosives on, a variety of buildings used for industry or inhabited or in inhabited areas, or of means of transportation, or of forests or crops, when resulting in death, is punishable by death. [13] Kidnapping resulting in death is punishable by death or life imprisonment. [14] Acts of indecent assault (whether statutory or due to coercion) resulting in death are punishable by death. [15]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
A variety of terrorism-related offenses resulting in death are punishable by death, such as: coercion to conscript individuals into a terrorist organization; infringement of diplomatic or consular premises in committing a terrorist act; use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; hijacking; hostage-taking; assaulting security forces; attacking a head of state or his family or a representative or officer of a state; murder. [16]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
A variety of terrorism-related offenses not resulting in death are punishable by death, such as: forming or leading an organization with the intent to commit terrorist acts; working with a foreign state or foreign or international terror group to commit terrorism, if the act is committed; threatening to use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; using explosives or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in a hijacking or assault upon security forces. [17]

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
The forced copulation of a female or sodomy of a man is punishable by death. [18] Coercion is presumed if a child is under 14 years of age; this statutory rape (copulation of a female or sodomy of a man) is punishable by death. [19]

Drug Trafficking Resulting in Death.
Intentional or unintentional killing of public officials charged with enforcing drug laws, to resist enforcement, is punishable by death. [20]

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
Procurement, import, export, manufacture, production, cultivation, preparation for cultivation, possession, acquisition or abuse of drugs with the intention of trafficking or promotion is punishable by death. For certain scheduled drugs, the punishment is death only upon recidivism. [21]

Drug Possession.
Possession for the purpose of trafficking or promotion is punishable by death. For certain scheduled drugs, the punishment is death only upon recidivism. [22]

Adultery.
Under Book 1, Article 1 of the UAE Penal Code, the provisions of Islamic Sharia shall apply to crimes liable to hadd punishments, [23] and individuals have been sentenced to the religiously stipulated penalty death by stoning for adultery, although it this penalty has not been carried out in recent years. [24] Execution is not favored—in one Hadith, the Prophet told a disciple who reported a possible adultery: “You should have covered them with your robe so that no one else would have seen them.” [25]

One comprehensive definition of adultery under Shari’a is “[s]exual intercourse between a man and a woman without legal right or without the semblance of a legal right.” A married person who commits adultery is eligible for the death penalty as hadd (while the unmarried person is eligible for severe lashing as hadd). [26] However, stringent evidentiary requirements must be met—either the testimony of four eyewitnesses or the confession of the accused— with the result that some scholars report that no legitimate convictions for sexual offenses have ever been made without the confession of the accused (for purposes of the hadd penalty). [27] (Pregnancy is admissible as circumstantial evidence—but only for unmarried women, who would as unmarried persons not face the death penalty as hadd.) [28] A person who confesses should be free to stop execution of the sentence by withdrawing a confession; in this and other cases of doubt, a ta’zir penalty can apply. [29]

Treason.
Crimes against the external security of the state such as high treason in support of an enemy, or undermining the defense or morale or loyalty of the armed forces, or surrendering or revealing defense secrets, or failing to perform defense-related contracts adequately in time of war, are punishable by death. Crimes against the internal security of the state such as high treason by insurrection or attempt against the life or security of a high government official, or crimes against the security by infringing the life or security of a foreign leader, abuse of authority over security forces to oppose the government, participation in or leadership of an armed band resisting the government or laws or destroying public or government buildings or properties (especially when explosives are used, are punishable by death. Any offense against the internal security of the state enumerated in Book 1, Chapter 2 of the Penal Code is death-eligible when committed in time of war in support of the enemy and accomplishing its objective. [30] A 2005 amendment to the Penal Code may make some other serious offenses against the state death-eligible when they result in death. [31]

Espionage.
Revealing defense secrets, or obtaining them with the intent to reveal them to an enemy, is punishable by death. [32]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Individuals who “import or bring nuclear substances or wastes or bury, dump, store or dispose of such wastes in any form in the environment of the State” are punishable by death or life imprisonment. [33]

Comments.
We did not find the law defining military offenses.

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. Under Article 98 of the Penal Code, a judge has discretion based on the circumstances of the offense or offender to award a sentence lesser than death. [34] Under the terrorism laws, the application of Article 98 of the Penal Code is restricted to reducing death sentences to life imprisonment, but discretionary sentencing is still permitted. [35] The drug laws do not contain any provision prohibiting the application of Article 98 of the Penal Code. [36]

However, according to Article 1 of the Penal Code, Article 98 might not apply for hadd or retributive penalties. [37] Hudud offenses are considered claims of God, and are described in the Quran, although the penalty for a hadd (singular) offense is usually found in the Sunna. [38] These penalties can “neither be reduced nor augmented.” [39] A hadd penalty should not be awarded unless stringent evidentiary requirements are met, [40] and some indicate that awarding a hadd penalty should be avoided when legitimately possible. [41] In this sense, the scope of that mandatory penalty could be very limited, but it is still considered a mandatory death penalty if judges do not as a matter of course consider the whole offense and offender in determining its appropriateness. Offenses against the individual’s body (such as murder or harm), carry qisas (retributive) penalties that are described in the Quran and developed in the Sunna and schools of Islam. These penalties are mandatory in that the victim’s kin (in the case of murder) can freely forgive the murderer or demand compensation in lieu of execution, but otherwise the death penalty is awarded as qisas, ultimately rendering the sentencing decision a non-judicial decision. [42] The government of the UAE typically negotiates with the victim’s family on behalf of the offender. [43] However, the death penalty is still considered mandatory because an extrajudicial pardon is not a substitute for assuring that courts exercise discretion in all cases.

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Aggravated Murder.
Aggravated murder may carry a discretionary statutory death penalty when the provisions of Shari’a do not apply, [44] but for any murder where Shari’a law applies, [45] only the family of a victim, not a court, may allow a sentence lesser than death. [46] While the government negotiates on behalf of the offender and the family often grants pardon, [47] this death penalty is considered arbitrary and mandatory because the court is not required or permitted to exercise discretion in all appropriate cases.

Murder.
Murder may carry a discretionary statutory death penalty when the provisions of Shari’a do not apply, [48] but for any murder where Shari’a law applies, [49] the death penalty is mandatory. [50]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
In the UAE, at least one court has refused to reduce the death penalty for murder during robbery, despite a settlement with the victim’s family. [51] This could be explained as application of a discretionary statutory penalty for murder, [52] but it could also be explained as application of the death penalty as hadd for premeditated murder with robbery. [53]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Some terrorism related offenses resulting in death might carry the mandatory death penalty if they could be characterized carrying a hadd or retributive penalty. [54]

Drug Trafficking Resulting in Death.
Some drug trafficking offenses involving murder may carry a retributive or hadd penalty. [55]

Adultery.
Under Book 1, Article 1 of the UAE Penal Code, the provisions of Islamic Sharia shall apply to crimes liable to religiously stipulated punishments, [56] and individuals have been sentenced to the religiously stipulated penalty death by stoning for adultery, although we have not found any recent incidents of such a penalty being executed in the UAE. [57] Adultery carries the penalty of stoning as hadd for married participants, but the hadd penalty can only apply for a freely given confession or on the testimony of four eyewitnesses (who must meet strict criteria and face severe punishment if the charge of adultery is not proved). Circumstantial evidence can be used in defense, but not to substantiate the offense (unless an accused woman is unmarried and pregnant). According to Shari’a principles, the knowledge of the judge is insufficient proof. Some scholars report that, for courts applying Shari’a rules, a charge has never been sustained on the testimony of eyewitnesses. A person who confesses should be free to stop execution of the sentence by withdrawing a confession; in this and other cases of doubt, a ta’zir penalty can apply. [58] The mandatory death penalty for adultery is thus, in a legal sense, a theoretical penalty—not that it is not applied in some jurisdictions despite this. In circumstances where proof is inadequate to apply the hadd penalty, a ta’zir penalty can apply. [59]

Comments.
The criminal laws of the United Arab Emirates are decrees promulgated with reference to the Constitution and other specified laws. The anti-terrorism and drug trafficking laws are promulgated in reference to the Penal Code and other laws. Accordingly, the universal provisions of the Penal Code are presumably in effect—Article 1 establishes the primacy of Shari’a law for religiously stipulated and retributive penalties; Article 98 establishes a universal mitigation provision (applicable where Shari’a law does not prevent judicial mitigation). As noted by scholars, the statutory provisions regarding the death penalty for drug trafficking (or possession for trafficking) not resulting in death are sometimes couched in mandatory language; [60] the same is true for terrorism offenses not resulting in death. [61] It is possible that UAE courts consider these offenses to carry the mandatory death penalty, but in our view, that interpretation is not demanded by the law. We restricted our categorization of the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking and terrorism to those offenses involving death, since in those cases Shari’a law could prevent the judicial mitigation available under Article 98. During our research we encountered numerous references to individuals who had not been sentenced to death for drug trafficking offenses; in one recent case, the trial court found that defendants were guilty of smuggling 1.5 kilograms of heroin with intent to traffic, [62] triggering language supposedly mandating the death penalty; [63] the offenders were sentenced to life imprisonment. It is possible that journalists have not accurately or fully described the application of the law, but our current best evidence is that courts do not apply the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

Aggravated Murder.
In February 2011, a man was executed for the rape and murder of a four year old boy. [64]

Murder.
In February 2008, a man was executed for the double-murder of two of his compatriots who had been mocking him about his past; he turned himself in, surrendered the murder weapon, and refused to give a defense. It is not clear whether such facts could have led to a capital conviction if he had raised a defense. [65] This may have been a sentence awarded under Shari’a law; if statutory law had applied, this murder might not have satisfied the enumerated aggravating elements required for a death sentence. [66]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
We did not find a translation of Article 10(1) of the Juvenile Delinquents and Displaced Persons Act No. 9 of 1976, but it reportedly excludes those under the age of 18 from the death penalty. [67] Additionally, the UAE is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [68] which prohibits such executions, and of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which prohibits such executions unless they are enabled by law. [69] There may be some ambiguity as to this legal exclusion in cases involving religiously stipulated or retributive penalties. [70] Although Shari’a law clearly excludes youthful offenders from execution, there might not be a modern bright line standard under Shari’a law [71] (except that set by the Arab Charter). As of 2010 three individuals were reportedly held under sentence of death for offenses committed while under the age of 18. [72]

Pregnant Women.
We did not find a translation of Article 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Law No. 35 of 1992; however, it seems to exclude pregnant women from the execution until 2 years after giving birth. [73] The UAE is party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which prohibits the execution of pregnant women. [74] The execution of pregnant women is anathema to the rights of the child set forth in the Quran and Sunna, although the woman may be sentenced to death. [75]

Women With Small Children.
We did not find a translation of Article 289 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Law No. 35 of 1992; however, it seems to exclude a nursing woman from execution until her child is 2 years of age. [76] The UAE is party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which prohibits the execution of a nursing woman until her child reaches 2 years of age. [77] The execution of nursing women is anathema to the rights of the child (until the child reaches 2 years of age) set forth in the Quran and Sunna, although the woman may be sentenced to death. [78]

Intellectually Disabled.
An individual who is “bereft of understanding or will” due to “mental deficiency” at the time of the offense is not criminally liable for his actions. Partial deficiency is only an extenuating factor. [79] In Shari’a courts, the execution of individuals who cannot satisfy the requirement of intent (or voluntariness in contributing testimonial evidence) is prohibited, and this has—historically—affected the competency of intellectually disabled individuals to face capital charges and whether a court may find premeditation and understanding sufficient for criminal liability. [80]

Mentally Ill.
An individual who is “bereft of understanding or will” due to insanity at the time of the offense is not criminally liable for his actions. Partial deficiency is only an extenuating factor. [81] It is possible that the law excludes from execution those who become insane after pronouncement of a judgment. [82] In Shari’a courts, the execution of individuals who cannot satisfy the requirement of intent (or voluntariness in contributing testimonial evidence) is prohibited, and this has—historically—affected the competency of insane individuals to stand trial for capital charges and whether a court may find premeditation and understanding sufficient for criminal liability. [83] It has also affected whether an individual who becomes insane after a verdict can be executed, especially if the individual’s testimony played a role in his conviction. [84] Intoxication, while (if voluntary) not necessarily preventing criminal liability, may exclude the application of hudud and qisas penalties (thus likely excluding the death penalty). [85]

References

[1] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 arts. 331-333, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, translation: Gulf Office Services Bureau, Mar. 1988.
[2] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates: 2011, http://english.nessunotocchicaino.it/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=23&nome=united%20arab%20emirates, last accessed Feb. 22, 2011 (this URL will change in 2012). This page reports on the decision of a Shari’a court involving whether to apply Maliki or Hanafi rules for a murder offense—according to the report, under the Maliki school Muslims might not be sentenced to death for killing non-Muslims, while under the Hanafi school this rule could only apply during a time of war. One might also argue that the rule turns on whether the non-Muslim is considered an individual under the protection of the Islamic state.
[3] Bassama Al Jandaly, Killer on Death Row Wins Pardon from Victim’s Family in Sharjah, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/killer-on-death-row-wins-pardon-from-victim-s-family-in-sharjah-1.650226, Jul. 5, 2010 (Note that the man had been sentenced to death by the court of first instance).
[4] Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 86, Intl. Law Inst., 1997.
[5] Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 75, American Trust Publications, 1982. Note that for the Hanafi school, the death penalty could be awarded as ta’zir for a murder committed without use of means particularly likely to result in death. Id. at p. 109.
[6] Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 86, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996.
[7] M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 203-204, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982.
[8] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 253, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[9] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 276, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[10] Note that different translations conflict, using slightly different wording and sometimes providing that this offense is treated as “premeditated manslaughter.”
[11] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 335 cum. 332 & 331, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[12] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, art. 45, No. 14 of 1995.
[13] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 arts. 304-305 cum. 308-309, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[14] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 344, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[15] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 356 cum. 357, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[16] UAE Decree on Combating Terrorism Offenses, arts. 6, 11, 14, 15-16, 17-18, 27, Federal Law No. 1 of 2004.
[17] UAE Decree on Combating Terrorism Offenses, arts. 3, 9, 14, 15-17 cum. 19, Federal Law No. 1 of 2004.
[18] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 354, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[19] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 354, 370, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[20] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, arts. 52-54, No. 14 of 1995.
[21] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, arts. 6(1) & 35-36 cum. 48 cum. Schedules 1, 2 &4, art. 49 cum. Schedules 3 & 6-8, No. 14 of 1995.
[22] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, art. 6(1) cum. 48 cum. Schedules 1-2 & 4, art. 49 cum. Schedules 3 & 6-8, No. 14 of 1995.
[23] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[24] Amnesty Intl., Further Information on UA 167/06 (MDE 25/005/2006, 13 June 2006)—Death by Stoning/Flogging, MDE 25/006/2006, Jul. 3, 2006 (reporting the judicial commutation, upon appeal, of a sentence of death by stoning for adultery).
[25] Cherif Bassiouni, Crimes and the Criminal Process, p. 280, Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1997.
[26] Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 14, American Trust Publications, 1982; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 68, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996. But see Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 64, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991.
[27] The requirements of evidence for application of hudud penalties are particularly extreme for offenses such as adultery, excluding any evidence except eyewitness testimony or the confession of the accused in most Sunni schools. Freely given confession, rather than eyewitness, has been the practical mode of proof for the offense of zina, and an offender may withdraw confession at any time when facing a hadd penalty (although this might not affect liability for compensation). Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 82-83, Intl. Law Inst., 1997; S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 177, 184-185, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961; Abdel et. al. at p. 38, 47; Sanad at p. 99, 104-105; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 26, 109-122, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 63-64, 246-286, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 24-26, 38, 45-47, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003.
[28] Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 130-131, American Trust Publications, 1982; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 199, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982.
[29] Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 82-83, Intl. Law Inst., 1997; S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 177, 184-185, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961; Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 64, 99, 104-105, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 26, 109-122, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 63-64, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 24-26, 38, 45-47, 72, 111-129, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003; Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 124-131, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[30] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 arts. 149, 150, 151, 154, 158, 161, 164, 174, 175, 179, 184, 186-187 &189-190 cum. 194, 199, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[31] Al Sharif Advocates and Legal Consultants, UAE Penal Code and its Amendment, http://www.dubailaw.com/article/viewarticle.asp?id=87, Oct. 10, 2006.
[32] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 158, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[33] UAE Law for the Protection and Development of the Environment, art. 62(2) cum. 73, No. 24 of 1999, translated by: United Arab Emirates.
[34] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 98(a), Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[35] UAE Decree on Combating Terrorism Offenses, art. 41, Federal Law No. 1 of 2004.
[36] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law No. 14 of 1995.
[37] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[38] Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 1, American Trust Publications, 1982; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 62-63, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996.
[39] Ali Akram Khan. Sherwani, Impact of Islamic Penal Laws on the Traditional Arab Society, p. 47, M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1993. Awarding an augmented penalty in conjunction with a hadd offense is possible, but this would be considered a ta’zir penalty. Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 109-110, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[40] S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 168-200, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961.
[41] Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 17-51, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003. Almost all sources on the subject stress that application of hudud penalties should be very limited, as an evidentiary matter and sometimes as a matter of social justice. M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 196, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982 (giving the traditional example that the punishment for theft may be inappropriate if the Islamic social security system has not been provided); Erik C. Owens, et. al., eds., Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning, p. 73-105, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004 (chapter written by Khaled Abou El Fadl).
[42] Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 85-88, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 203-209, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 69-85, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[43] US Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[44] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, art. 98(a),331-333, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[45] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[46] Bassama Al Jandaly, Killer on Death Row Wins Pardon from Victim’s Family in Sharjah, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/killer-on-death-row-wins-pardon-from-victim-s-family-in-sharjah-1.650226, Jul. 5, 2010 (Note that the man had been sentenced to death by the court of first instance). For scholarly resources, see Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 85-88, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 203-209, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 69-85, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[47] US Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[48] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, art. 98(a),331-333, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[49] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[50] Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 85-88, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 203-209, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 69-85, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[51] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=13000046&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[52] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 arts. 331-333, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, translation: Gulf Office Services Bureau, Mar. 1988.
[53] Khaled Abou El Fadl, Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law, p 47, 260-261, Cambridge University Press, 2001; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 75-79, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 52-53, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991.
[54] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987. For a discussion of this matter, please reference Khaled Abou El Fadl, Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
[55] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, arts. 52-54, No. 14 of 1995; UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[56] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[57] Amnesty Intl., Further Information on UA 167/06 (MDE 25/005/2006, 13 June 2006)—Death by Stoning/Flogging, MDE 25/006/2006, Jul. 3, 2006 (reporting the judicial commutation, upon appeal, of a sentence of death by stoning for adultery).
[58] Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 82-83, Intl. Law Inst., 1997; S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 177, 184-185, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961; Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 64, 99, 104-105, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 26, 109-122, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 63-64, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 24-26, 38, 45-47, 72, 111-129, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003; Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 124-131, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[59] Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 64, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991; Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 82-83, Intl. Law Inst., 1997; Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 72, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003.
[60] Patrick Gallahue and Rick Lines, The Death Penalty for Drug Offenses: Global Overview 2010, p. 17 fn. 97, International Harm Reduction Association, 2010.
[61] UAE Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, arts. 6(1) & 35-36 cum. 48 cum. Schedules 1, 2 &4, art. 49 cum. Schedules 3 & 6-8, No. 14 of 1995.
[62] UAE Decree on Combating Terrorism Offenses, arts. 3, 9, 14, 15-17 cum. 19, Federal Law No. 1 of 2004.
[63] Bassam Za’za, Court Hands Out Life Terms to Duo for Smuggling, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/court-hands-out-life-terms-to-duo-for-smuggling-1.705697, Nov. 3, 2010.
[64] Patrick Gallahue and Rick Lines, The Death Penalty for Drug Offenses: Global Overview 2010, p. 17 fn. 97, International Harm Reduction Association, 2010.
[65] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates: 2011, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=15000410&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 22, 2011 (This URL will change in 2012).
[66] Al Arabiya, UAE Man Executed for Double Murder: Report, Feb. 24, 2008.
[67] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 arts. 331-333, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, translation: Gulf Office Services Bureau, Mar. 1988.
[68] U.N.G.A., National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15 (A)

of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: United Arab Emirates, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/3/ARE/1, Sep. 16, 2008.

[69] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Nov. 18, 2010.
[70] Mervat Rishmawi, The Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights: A Step Forward?, Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 5 Iss. 2, p. 361-376, available at http://hrlr.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/2/361.short, Jan. 2, 2005; UAE Interact, UAE Ratifies Arab Charter on Human Rights, http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/UAE_ratifies_Arab_charter_on_human_rights/28218.htm, Jan. 16, 2008.
[71] See, for instance, UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 1, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 (explaining that the penal code describes law only where there are no religiously stipulated or retributive penalties). While this is not necessarily applicable to or representative of the juvenile law, it may be the case that there is ambiguity as to the application of any legislative act when a penalty is religiously stipulated or retributive.
[72] S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 138, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961
[73] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[74] We loosely corroborated that UAE’s laws contain this typical exception by using Google Translate; we would appreciate help translating some Arabic-language laws. See the website of the Gulf Corporation Council’s legal information apparatus at http://www.gcc-legal.org/MojPortalPublic/Home.aspx, last accessed Feb. 6,, 2011.
[75] Mervat Rishmawi, The Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights: A Step Forward?, Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 5 Iss. 2, p. 361-376, available at http://hrlr.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/2/361.short, Jan. 2, 2005; UAE Interact, UAE Ratifies Arab Charter on Human Rights, http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/UAE_ratifies_Arab_charter_on_human_rights/28218.htm, Jan. 16, 2008.
[76] Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 56, Intl. Law Inst., 1997.
[77] We loosely corroborated that UAE’s laws contain this typical exception by using Google Translate; we would appreciate help translating some Arabic-language laws. See the website of the Gulf Corporation Council’s legal information apparatus at http://www.gcc-legal.org/MojPortalPublic/Home.aspx, last accessed Feb. 6,, 2011.
[78] Mervat Rishmawi, The Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights: A Step Forward?, Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 5 Iss. 2, p. 361-376, available at http://hrlr.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/2/361.short, Jan. 2, 2005; UAE Interact, UAE Ratifies Arab Charter on Human Rights, http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/UAE_ratifies_Arab_charter_on_human_rights/28218.htm, Jan. 16, 2008.
[79] Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 56, Intl. Law Inst., 1997.
[80] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 60, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[81] M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 187, 192, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982. Note that some scholars differ, offering no legal explanation (unlike the previous source) and stating that the ability to discriminate between good and evil is the main requirement in determining liability for an intellectually disabled individual. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 91, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991.
[82] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 60, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[83] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 133, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[84] M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 186-187, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 90-91, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991.
[85] For instance, the condemned may have been convicted in part on testimonial evidence he contributed. If he is executed while insane, this would deprive him of his right to retract his testimony, which he retains in many serious matters. M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 186-187, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982. See also S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 174, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961. This author takes some exception to the universality of the rule, but the “number” of jurists he refers to are in a small minority, and the school which he cites is nearly extinct and not one of the major Sunni schools. According to one source, admissions may be withdrawn even during the execution of a sentence, and this terminates the validity of the sentence. Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 46-47, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003.
[86] Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 91-92, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 64, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 187-188, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

No. [1]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [2]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [3]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [4]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [5]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Yes. [7]

Date of Accession

January 15, 2008. [8]

Signed?

Yes. [9]

Date of Signature

September 18, 2006. [10]

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [11]

Vote

Abstained. [12]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [13]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [14]

Vote

Abstained. [15]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [16]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [17]

Vote

Abstained. [18]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [19]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [20]

Vote

Abstained. [21]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [22]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [23]

Vote

Abstained. [24]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [25]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [26]

Vote

Abstained. [27]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [28]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 5, 2011.
[7] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[8] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[9] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[10] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[11] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[12] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[13] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[14] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[15] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[16] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[17] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[18] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[19] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[20] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[21] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[22] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[23] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[24] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[25] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[26] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[27] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[28] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

Part Three of the UAE Constitution prohibits “torture or degrading treatment” with respect to personal liberty, prohibits punishment under ex post facto laws and provides for due process and a fair trial, but makes no provision specifically limiting capital punishment. Under Article 7, Shari’a is “a main source of legislation,” suggesting that the scope of the death penalty under the UAE’s interpretation of the Shari’a is relevant to its constitutional scope. Traditional Shari’a law provides a number of guarantees for those facing capital charges. [1] Articles 107-108 provide that federal death penalties cannot be carried out without the President’s approval and that the President must obtain the approval of a Council of Ministers to commute a death sentence. [2]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

Foreigners have the constitutional right to the protections of charters, treaties or agreements to which the UAE is party. [3] This provision is important; more than 80 percent of the UAE’s population consists of foreign labor. [4]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

In recent years, death sentences and executions have not been frequent in the UAE. In 2010, Amnesty International identified an “upsurge” in death sentences, with 25 death sentences pronounced by the end of April. [5] By December 2010, at least 48 death sentences had been pronounced during that year, and 1 sentence of life imprisonment was enhanced to the death penalty. [6] The upward trend might be tracked to problems in enforcing drug and alcohol laws among the UAE’s predominantly foreign population. [7] In 2010, 17 death sentences were imposed for a single murder in a bootlegging dispute, and 12 death sentences were imposed for drug trafficking. [8] On December 7th, the trial of 13 more men accused of a double murder in a bootlegging dispute began; they will be sentenced on January 3, 2011. [9] Bootlegging-related gang violence is a serious problem and can lead to large numbers of capital convictions. [10] According to Amnesty International, prosecutors may not engage in adequate investigation in these cases, allegedly using videotaped forced “re-enactments” by the accused as evidence in court and essentially accepting the evidence presented by the police without even interviewing the accused. [11] Journalists describe an ongoing bootlegging turf war that has led to the detention of 60 individuals for killings, with 22 sentenced to death over the past 3 years and many of the remainder awaiting final adjudication. [12]

The upsurge of death sentences could also be linked to prosecutorial misconduct [13] and incompetent defense work, [14] as has been decried by Amnesty International, commentators, UAE judges and the Judicial Department, the last of which recently emphasized the need for reforms in providing legal aid.

We did not find reports indicating that the legal scope of the death penalty has expanded. Application of the death penalty for at least some nonviolent offenses under some interpretations of Shari’a law may be receding. [15]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No. Executions are not frequent in the United Arab Emirates, but we found no report of an official moratorium, and in 2008 an individual was executed for murder. [16] In 2011, another individual was executed for child rape and murder. [17]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

We did not find any published cases during our research.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

We did not find a resource describing where judicial decisions are available. A government website of the Ministry of Justice, http://ejustice.gov.ae/, makes some recent decisions available, as well as other legal resources, but the cases posted during our research were not (as far as we could tell) of relevance to the death penalty.

What is the clemency process?

No federal death sentence may be executed unless approved by the President of the State, but the President must request approval of a Council of Ministers to commute a sentence. [18] The power to pardon may be additionally limited insofar as the family of a murder victim is, ultimately, responsible for making clemency decisions. [19] The penalty of death by qisas can be commuted upon the forgiveness of the victim’s kin or their acceptance of compensation, although the state may still apply a ta’zir penalty which would be subject to clemency by the public authority. The rules for private clemency differ among the schools of Islam—for instance, the Maliki and Hanbali schools hold that all of the victim’s male heirs must demand qisas, or else compensation is the only remedy, while other schools focus on the decision of a single heir. [20] In practice, individual countries may apply unique rules in this process. When an offender faces the retributive death penalty in the UAE, the government negotiates with the victim’s family in an attempt to avoid execution. [21] UAE citizens have also played a role in securing pardons for indigent offenders. [22]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. [23]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

We did not find a translation of Articles 230 et seq. of the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure, law No. 35 of 1992 (as amended in 2010), but the accused, prosecutor or civil plaintiff may appeal a decision of the court of first instance to the Court of Appeal, which considers the case on the merits and may consider new evidence. The appellate court can overturn an acquittal by a unanimous vote. Thereafter, parties may request review of matters of law by the Court of Cassation (Federal Supreme Court). [24] Experts report that Shari’a courts hear some appeals related to Shari’a law. As of June 2010, the decisions of courts in Dubai and Ras Al-Kaimah were not appealable to the Federal Supreme Court; Dubai maintains its own Court of Cassation. [25] Recently, due to a rash of bootlegging-related killings, journalists in the UAE have outlined their country’s appellate process. One very descriptive article states that appellate and cassation review of death sentences is mandatory, and that “the three judges” of the Federal Supreme Court must uphold a verdict before a death sentence is final. [26]

References

[1] The principle of non-retroactivity and legality is pronounced and developed in the Quran and the Sunna. Muhammad Abdel Haleem, Adel Omar Sherif & Kate Daniels, eds., Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, p. 44-45, 64-72, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003. Note that this principle “in its most flexible aspect” when judges adjudicate on ta’zir offenses—where judges enjoy discretionary powers that they should exercise within defined limits. Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, p. 38-44, Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991. Ta’zir offenses can be inflicted where the Quran or Sunna described an offense but did not provide a penalty, and may also be prescribed by public authorities (as long as the crime and punishment is consistent with the Shari’a) in the public interest—but the death penalty should rarely apply. Ali Akram Khan. Sherwani, Impact of Islamic Penal Laws on the Traditional Arab Society, p. 58-60, M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1993; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 213, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982. Exceptional cases where the ta’zir death penalty may apply are defined in the texts of the various schools of Islamic law—still, it is reasonable to insist on the codification of ta’zir penalties to assure they are not arbitrarily applied. Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 108-109, American Trust Publications, 1982; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 215, 227-229, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982. For a discussion of sources of law and early codification in Islamic states, see S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al-Islam, p. 63-145, translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961. Saudi Arabia—alone among the Islamic states—has yet to fully codify its criminal law, but it reportedly began doing so in mid-2010.

The presumption of innocence is to be at its strongest in the application of hudud and qisas penalties, where the principle of doubt should require the application of a lesser ta’zir penalty if reasonably possible. Haleem et. al at p. 24-26, 45-46; Sanad at p. 72-74. The requirements of evidence for application of hudud penalties are particularly extreme for offenses such as adultery, excluding any evidence except eyewitness testimony or the freely given confession of the accused in most Sunni schools. Abdel et. al. at p. 38, 47; Sanad at p. 99, 104-105; Bassiouni, ed., at p. 26, 109-122; Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 63-64, 146-186, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996. For a discussion of evidentiary rules, see Mahmassani at p. 168-200.

Traditionally, Shari’a protects rights related to a fair trial, such as the inadmissibility of forced confessions, an exclusionary rule against evidence gained by illegal search and seizure, and the right to a defense and (though possibly a more modern convention) an attorney. Haleem et. al. at p. 49-51, 81-91; Sanad at p. 75-84; Bassiouni, ed., at p. 91-107. Note that procedural defects do not always lead to exoneration. Bassiouni at p. 41. For some discussion of the development of protections related to a fair trial, see Mahmood et. al. at p. 246-286.

Judicial review of law is part of the Shari’a system, as is the right to appeal a court’s determinations. Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, p. 38-39, 63, Intl. Law Inst., 1997; Mahmood et. al. at p. 334-336 (discussing and reproducing the Criminal Justice Resolution of 1979 of the First International Conference on the Protection of Human Rights in the Islamic Criminal Justice System). One source reports that, traditionally, the decision of a Shari’a court could not be appealed, although the court could reverse its own judgment. Haleem et. al. at p. 10. That source contradicts another source that describes the organization of the judicial authority, specifically discussing the appellate authority. Mahmood et. al. at p. 261-262. All or nearly all states applying Islamic law have appellate systems.

There are other protections explicitly addressing the death penalty, including (but not limited to) protections for youthful offenders, pregnant women, and individuals with diminished responsibility. Mahmassani at p. 138, 174; Lampe, ed., at p. 56; Bassiouni, ed., at p. 186-187; Haleem et. al. at p. 46-47.

[2] UAE Constitution of 1971, arts. 7, 26-28, 107-108, as amended through 1996.
[3] UAE Constitution of 1971, art. 40, as amended through 1996.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[5] Amnesty Intl., UAE Must Investigate Allegations of Torture of Indian Men on Death Row, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/uae-must-investigate-allegations-torture-indian-men-death-row-2010-04-23, Apr. 22, 2010.
[6] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=13000046&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 6, 2011.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[8] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=13000046&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 6, 2011.
[9] Awad Mustafa, Trial Date is Set in Bootlegging Murders, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/trial-date-is-set-in-bootleg-murders, Dec. 7, 2010.
[10] Yasin Kakande, Seventeen Sentenced to Death for “Bootleg” Murder, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/seventeen-sentenced-to-death-for-bootleg-murder, Mar. 29, 2010.
[11] Amnesty Intl., UAE Must Investigate Allegations of Torture of Indian Men on Death Row, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/uae-must-investigate-allegations-torture-indian-men-death-row-2010-04-23, Apr. 22, 2010; Yasin Kakande, 17 Facing Death Penalty Deny Knowing Deceased, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/17-facing-death-penalty-deny-knowing-deceased, Sep. 1, 2010.
[12] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[13] Amnesty Intl., UAE Must Investigate Allegations of Torture of Indian Men on Death Row, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/uae-must-investigate-allegations-torture-indian-men-death-row-2010-04-23, Apr. 22, 2010; Yasin Kakande, 17 Facing Death Penalty Deny Knowing Deceased, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/17-facing-death-penalty-deny-knowing-deceased, Sep. 1, 2010.
[14] Hassan Hassan, Death Penalty Lawyers Fail Clients, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/death-penalty-defence-lawyers-fail-clients, Oct. 17, 2010.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Further Information on UA 167/06 (MDE 25/005/2006, 13 June 2006)—Death by Stoning/Flogging, MDE 25/006/2006, Jul. 3, 2006 (reporting the judicial commutation, upon appeal, of a sentence of death by stoning for adultery).
[16] Al Arabiya, UAE Man Executed for Double Murder: Report, Feb. 24, 2008.
[17] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates: 2011, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=15000410&idcontinente=23, last accessed Feb. 22, 2011 (This URL will change in 2012). A man was executed by firing squad for the rape and murder of a four-year-old boy.
[18] UAE Constitution of 1971, arts. 107-108, as amended through 1996.
[19] UAE Penal Code, Book 1 art. 67, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987.
[20] Bassama Al Jandaly, Killer on Death Row Wins Pardon from Victim’s Family in Sharjah, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/killer-on-death-row-wins-pardon-from-victim-s-family-in-sharjah-1.650226, Jul. 5, 2010 (Note that the man had been sentenced to death by the court of first instance).
[21] Tahir Mahmood, et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World: A Comparative Perspective, p. 85-88, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st. ed., 1996; M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, p. 203-209, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982; Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, p. 69-85, 89, American Trust Publications, 1982.
[22] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[23] Suryatapa Bhattacharya, Business Mogul Offers Aid to 17 Death Row Prisoners, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/business-mogul-offers-aid-to-17-death-row-prisoners, Sep. 28, 2010.
[24] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[25] We loosely corroborated that UAE’s laws contain this typical rule by using Google Translate; we would appreciate help translating some Arabic-language laws. See the website of the Gulf Corporation Council’s legal information apparatus at http://www.gcc-legal.org/MojPortalPublic/Home.aspx, last accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
[26] Ahmed Aly Khedr & Bassam Alnuaimi, A Guide to United Arab Emirates Legal System, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/United_Arab_Emirates.htm#criminalactions, Jun. 2010; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar 11., 2010.
[27] Yasin Kakande, Seventeen Sentenced to Death for “Bootleg” Murder, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/seventeen-sentenced-to-death-for-bootleg-murder, Mar. 29, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Death-sentenced prisoners are reportedly incarcerated in Dubai Central Jail and Sharjah Central Jail, [1] and other locations. For instance, the most recent execution, in 2008, was carried out in Ras al-Khaimah (the capital city of the Emirate of the same name). [2] The seven Emirates are Abu Dhabi (the capital), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujaira. It is not necessarily the case that each Emirate has a death row. In any case, individuals may be held under sentence of death in one Emirate for an offense committed and tried in another. [3]

Description of Prison Conditions

Conditions vary from prison to prison; in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, prisons are reported to be particularly crowded. [4] Death row prisoners might not experience the same conditions as the general population—for instance, in Dubai, the 24 death row inmates are held in separate ward, [5] and we do not know the capacity of that ward. The female death row inmate in Sharjah [6] is likely held separately from male prisoners. [7] We were unable to confirm specific conditions on death row, and although the UAE claims that NGOs are permitted to monitor conditions in prisons, NGOs report that in practice this is not true. [8]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

Yes. [9]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

A number of those sentenced to death are Indian nationals from the state of Punjab. Over the past 3 years, 60 youths from India have been brought up on capital charges for bootlegging turf war killings, 22 of whom have been sentenced to death. The remainder await their final sentence. [10] At least one Pakistani was on death row in early 2010, [11] as was one Bangladeshi. [12] It must be noted that more than 80 percent of the UAE population is foreign labor. [13]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

At least one woman was held under sentence of death as of December 2010. [14]

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

At least two individuals who were allegedly juveniles at the time of their offense were held under sentence of death as of December 2010, [15] despite apparent statutory prohibition of the practice. [16] A news report indicates that “the pair were tried as adults after a court ruled that their facial hair indicated they were mature enough to take responsibility for their crimes;” the sentence was upheld on appeal and confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court. [17] Under Article 1 of the Penal Code, Shari’a law takes precedence for retributive penalties; in the absence of birth registry information, standards based on physical maturity could be applied as an alternative means of establishing maturity. [18]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

More than 80 percent of the UAE population is foreign labor. [19] Some nationalities, such as Indians from the state of Punjab, may be over-represented on death row. This may be due to their participation in bootlegging activities that sometimes involve violent turf wars that result in killings. A review of prosecutions for bootlegging-related killings reveals that the prosecuted offenders and victims tend to be Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, but predominantly Indian. [20] Researching discriminatory application of the death penalty in the UAE could be convoluted and require a good understanding of the demographics and dynamics among the migrant population.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Although we have not obtained a translation of Article 4 of the Federal Criminal Procedure Code, Law No. 35 of 1992 (as amended in 2010), it seems to require the state to assign an attorney in a capital case if the defendant has not obtained one. [21] In practice, defendants facing capital charges have access to state-provided counsel. [22]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Although we have not obtained a translation of Article 4 of the Federal Criminal Procedure Code, Law No. 35 of 1992 (as amended in 2010) it seems to require the state to assign an attorney in a capital case at the trial stage. Because appellate review in the UAE involves a review of the merits, including new evidence, it is possible that Article 4 is interpreted to require representation upon appeal. [23] The Federal Supreme Court engages in cassation review (a review of the court’s application of law), and we did not find any provision or reference concerning the right to an attorney during cassation review.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Recently, both UAE judges and the Judicial Department have reprimanded death penalty defense lawyers for incompetent representation of indigent clients, denying license renewal to some defense attorneys for poor defense work. Lawyers have failed to attend trial, and one judge rebuked an attorney for not preparing any defense better than a denial to rape charges (which served as aggravation in a murder case) when the prosecution had made available DNA evidence. Some attorneys are being questioned on corruption charges, including for selling documents to the attorneys of opposing counsel (whether this means the prosecution or civil plaintiffs is unclear). The Judicial Department stated that attorneys should be assigned according to expertise and implied that better statutory rates are required to procure quality representation for the indigent. [24] The Judicial Department’s critique follows an upsurge in death sentences this year, [25] amid allegations of prosecutorial misconduct involving use of a taped, forced re-enactment of a gang murder as evidence at trial and the failure of the court or any party to put a stop to the use of such evidence. [26]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

A defendant is not entitled to counsel until the prosecution decides to charge him. While defense counsel has access to government evidence, the prosecution may bar defense counsel from investigations. Prosecutions are conducted in Arabic. The defendant has a right to a translator during the proceedings; in a case prosecuted in 2010, this right was preserved, although procuring an acceptable translator caused delays. When individuals face the retributive death penalty, the government negotiates on behalf of the offender to secure a pardon from the victim’s family. [27]

The failure of the government to assure the participation of counsel during all pre-trial stages leads to abuses. In 2008 through mid-2009, two Chinese nationals were allegedly detained in solitary confinement in Al Wathba Prison, where they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment and forced to sign confessions that they were involved in terrorist operations in the UAE. As of 2009 they had been charged but were still being denied counsel. (The fact that they were threatened with deportation to China, where they would face potential execution, may suggest that their alleged offense is not capital under UAE law.) [28]

Researchers interested in the dynamics of bootlegging and poverty [29] may wish to review the illegal but pervasive employer practice of confiscating migrant employees’ passports. This practice renders a migrant unable to freely leave the country and dependent on a single employer, who may use this to exploit him. Many migrant workers are unsophisticated, and the process for legally changing employers is complex, so migrants are at a disadvantage if an employer does not honor their contractual rights. [30] In this environment it is worth asking whether the government’s failure to enforce laws protecting migrants leads to a situation where exploited migrants turn to bootlegging and other criminal activities that for obvious reasons do not require documentation. The large-scale violent turf wars over bootlegging activities [31] may be a sign that significant numbers of poor, unsophisticated migrants, unable to assert their legal rights or leave the country, find themselves competing for illicit employment. This leads to large numbers of capital prosecutions. [32]

References

[1] Salam Al Amir, Death Row Convicts in Dubai, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/death-row-convicts-in-dubai-1.595184, Gulf News, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[3] Al Arabiya, UAE Man Executed for Double Murder: Report, Feb. 24, 2008.
[4] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[6] Salam Al Amir, Death Row Convicts in Dubai, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/death-row-convicts-in-dubai-1.595184, Gulf News, Mar. 11, 2010.
[7] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[10] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[11] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[12] Salam Al Amir, Death Row Convicts in Dubai, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/death-row-convicts-in-dubai-1.595184, Gulf News, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[14] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[15] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[16] Bassama Al Jandaly, First Emirati Woman Awaits Execution in the UAE, Gulf News, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/first-emirati-woman-awaits-execution-in-the-uae-1.614313, Apr. 19, 2010.
[17] U.N.G.A., National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15 (A)

of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: United Arab Emirates, p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/3/ARE/1, Sep. 16, 2008.

[18] Hassan Hassan, Two on Death Row for Teenage Murder, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/two-on-death-row-for-teenage-murder, Apr. 29, 2010.
[19] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Feb. 6, 2011.
[20] Mervat Rishmawi, The Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights: A Step Forward?, Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 5 Iss. 2, p. 361-376, available at http://hrlr.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/2/361.short, Jan. 2, 2005; UAE Interact, UAE Ratifies Arab Charter on Human Rights, http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/UAE_ratifies_Arab_charter_on_human_rights/28218.htm, Jan. 16, 2008 (this Charter does not permit application of an uncodified death penalty for crimes committed while under the age of 18).
[21] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: United Arab Emirates, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm, Jul. 14, 2010.
[22] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[23] We loosely corroborated that UAE’s laws contain this typical rule by using Google Translate; we would appreciate help translating some Arabic-language laws. See the website of the Gulf Corporation Council’s legal information apparatus at http://www.gcc-legal.org/MojPortalPublic/Home.aspx, last accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
[24] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[25] We loosely corroborated that UAE’s laws contain this typical rule by using Google Translate; we would appreciate help translating some Arabic-language laws. See the website of the Gulf Corporation Council’s legal information apparatus at http://www.gcc-legal.org/MojPortalPublic/Home.aspx, last accessed Jan. 20, 2011.
[26] Hassan Hassan, Death Penalty Lawyers Fail Clients, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/death-penalty-defence-lawyers-fail-clients, Oct. 17, 2010.
[27] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://english.nessunotocchicaino.it/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=23&nome=united%20arab%20emirates, last accessed Dec. 6, 2010.
[28] Amnesty Intl., UAE Must Investigate Allegations of Torture of Indian Men on Death Row, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/uae-must-investigate-allegations-torture-indian-men-death-row-2010-04-23, Apr. 22, 2010; Yasin Kakande, 17 Facing Death Penalty Deny Knowing Deceased, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/17-facing-death-penalty-deny-knowing-deceased, Sep. 1, 2010.
[29] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: United Arab Emirates, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136082.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; Yasin Kakande, 17 Facing Death Penalty Deny Knowing Deceased, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/17-facing-death-penalty-deny-knowing-deceased, Sep. 1, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak: Addendum, para. 269, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/39/Add.1, Feb. 25, 2010.
[31] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[32] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Githu Muigai: Addendum, paras. 37-38 & generally, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/43/Add.3, Mar. 31, 2010.
[33] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.
[34] Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

The United Arab Emirates is not a party to the ICCPR; [1] accordingly the Human Rights Committee does not issue observations or decisions concerning the UAE.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Members of the Human Rights Council during the 2009 Universal Periodic Review of human rights in the UAE recommended that the country establish a moratorium on death sentences and executions, encourage a national debate on the death penalty, and abolish the death penalty. These recommendations did not enjoy the support of the UAE. The UAE did not immediately reject recommendations that it accede to various international human rights conventions, [2] but later did reject recommendations that it ratify certain conventions, including the ICCPR. [3]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Nov. 18, 2010.
[2] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: United Arab Emirates, paras. 55, 61, 67, 69, 73, 92, 93, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/10/75, Jan. 12, 2009.
[3] UPR-Info.org, Responses to Recommendations: UAE, p. 3, http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/Recommendations_UnitedArabEmirates_2008.pdf, Mar. 19, 2009.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Sharmila Dahl, Broken Lives After Bootlegging in the UAE, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/broken-lives-after-bootlegging-in-the-uae-1.717945, Nov. 25, 2010.

Ali Akram Khan Sherwani, Impact of Islamic Penal Laws on the Traditional Arab Society, M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1993.

Dr. Nagaty Sanad, The Theory of Crime and Criminal Responsibility in Islamic Law: Shari’a, The Office of International Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991.

Gerald E. Lampe, ed., Justice and Human Rights in Islamic Law, International Law Institute, 1997.

Khaled Abou El Fadl, Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law, Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Khaled Abou El Fadl, The Death Penalty, Mercy and Islam: A Call for Retrospection, p. 73-105 in Erik C. Owens, et. al., eds., Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2004.

M. Cherif Bassiouni, Crimes and the Criminal Process, Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 12 No. 3, p. 269, 1997.

M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., The Islamic Criminal Justice System, Oceana Publications, Inc., 1982.

Mohamed S. El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law: A Comparative Study, American Trust Publications, 1982.

Muhammad Abdel Haleem et. al, Criminal Justice in Islam: Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2003.

Robert Postawko, Towards an Islamic Critique of Capital Punishment, UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law, Vol. 1 p. 269, 2002.

Rodolphe J.A. De Seife, The Shari’a: An Introduction to the Law of Islam, Austin & Winfield, 1994.

S. Mahmassani, Falsafat Al-Tashri Fi Al Islam, Translated by Farhat J. Ziadeh, E.J. Brill, 1961.

Tahir Mahmood et. al., Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World, Institute of Objective Studies, 1st ed., 1996.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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